Microsoft Protests Amazon’s $10 Billion NSA Cloud Computing Contract

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Microsoft Protests Amazon's $10 Billion NSA Cloud Computing Contract

It’s not about the cash; it’s about the service, right?

As titanic tech clashes come, Amazon vs Microsoft is at the highest of the bill. Microsoft is protesting the award of a $10 billion National Security Agency (NSA) contract to Amazon, arguing that the NSA didn’t evaluate the contract bidders properly because if they had, the organization would have chosen Microsoft.

Amazon and Microsoft Battle for Massive Government Contract—Again

While specific issues are scarce, this is not the primary time the 2 companies have clashed over a lucrative government contract. Previously, Microsoft and Amazon fought over a $10 billion Department of Defense contract, with the anger dragging on for years.

Eventually, Microsoft won the JEDI cloud services contract, but not before the initial contract was cancelled and reinstated, thanks to Amazon’s protests.

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This time around, the shoe is on the opposite foot. The NSA is shifting many of its important server requirements offsite, and Microsoft and Amazon are both well-positioned to handle the many hardware demands. A politician NSA spokesperson confirmed the awarding of the contract (codenamed WildandStormy) and Microsoft’s protest to NextGov:

NSA recently awarded a contract for cloud computing services to support the Agency. The unsuccessful offeror has filed a protest with the govt Accountability Office. The Agency will answer the protest by appropriate federal regulations.

However, the protest process isn’t a fast one. Microsoft and Amazon must now wait until October 2021 for the result, putting a short-lived halt to the NSA’s offsite cloud computing plans.

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Why Is the NSA Using Cloud Computing and Cloud Storage?

All United States government agencies require substantial computing resources. However, thanks to the NSA’s mission and relationship with data, it likely requires quite most. Such a lot so that the Agency can not effectively scale its operation.

In 2020, the choice was to manoeuvre the NSA’s crown jewels, its intelligence data, to a billboard cloud service. The Hybrid Compute Initiative will see a large proportion of agency data moved outside the NSA’s walls. Again, Microsoft and Amazon are the sole horses within the race, but Amazon has pipped Microsoft to this point.

Whether the NSA will alter its decision is another thing entirely. However, Bloomberg Government analyst Chris Cornille said that the awarding of the contract “reiterates that Amazon remains the cloud provider to beat” when it involves government services. Furthermore, while Microsoft is within the race, “Amazon was forming relationships and gathering security certifications a decade ago, and Microsoft remains playing catch-up.”

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